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"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If they fall down, they can help each other up. But pity those who fall and have no one to help them up!" (Eccl. 4:9-10 TNIV). A famous preacher once said that the most terrifying word in English is the word “alone.” From our yearly conferences, to our publications, to our website, blog, and weekly newsletter, Arise, people tell us (often in tears) that our ministry keeps them going from week to week. Why? Because they know they are not alone. To enjoy the support of other Christians who value Scripture and read on its pages a call to gift-based, rather than gender-based, ministry is one of the most important services CBE offers. Several months ago I was in church and noticed a famil... Read more
I have a question about the translation of 1 Timothy 2:12. Click here to view the interlinear reading of this verse. At 2:12, there are three notable differences between the English interlinear underneath the Greek text, and the English translation on the right. Difference 1: The English interlinear is in the present tense, as indicated by the words ‘I AM permittING NOT-YET.’ But in the English translation on the right, the sense of ‘NOT-YET’ is not carried over. It makes a sentence that appears to deal with a particular moment in time sound like a command for all time. Why was it translated this way? Difference 2: The English interlinear translates authenein as ‘to be domineering’ but the English translation on the right translates... Read more
"...but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26). Last weekend CBE was preparing for our lecture, booth, and a community dinner at the Jubilee conference, sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach. We were excited and thankful for the opportunity to engage thousands of new college students in Pittsburgh! As we approached the event, we prayed strenuously for God’s intervening presence. We asked God for clear communication—to infuse our words with power and grace. The day before the conference, one of our most strategic workstations crashed. This was incredibly discouraging because it was the fastest computer in the office, and the one most frequently used for our financial work. We felt our spirits sink, n... Read more
I grew up in patriarchal churches. I got used to hearing Scripture readings and having to internally translate “man” to “humanity” or “people;” to seeing women behind the piano but not the pulpit or conducting the children’s choir but not the adult musicians; to being allowed to ask public questions in my high school Sunday school class but then denied the same opportunity later when I became an adult. So when, a few years ago, all my searching and questioning finally produced a permanent shift to egalitarianism, the smallest acts of justice in the church were great sources of encouragement to me. At the time I was a member of a patriarchal but relatively supportive congregation, and when “liberal” forces within the congregation le... Read more
To what extent does Christ's completed work on Calvary redeem all of life, and all of our relationships? If, as Scripture teaches, knowing Christ changes everything, should we expect and anticipate the power of the cross to renew our relationships as Christians? The early evangelicals asked similar questions—questions they answered with a high view of the cross. The early evangelicals were the most cross-centered Christians in all of history, and they were also the first to develop a biblical basis for the emancipation of women and slaves. They believed that Christ's work on the cross gave rise to a newness of life exhibited through unity and reconciliation between people. Consider Penn-Lewis (1861-1927) an evangelical who believed that the cross ushered in the new creatio... Read more
I am amazed that the small part of Ephesians 5 which is translated "as Christ is head of the church" is extended and explained so that a husband is compared to Christ in so many ways. What is a simple comparison of the type of care which a husband is encouraged to give becomes in some people's minds the open door to husband as leader, decision maker, initiator, final authority in the home, and the one who must give account of every family member's spiritual life. The extension of this is the expected response of a wife which presumably is the same as that of the church—submission in everything. If there is not submission "in everything," then the comparison breaks down at several points. The church (bride) doesn't have a say in the decision mak... Read more
" all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work." Three retired women volunteered at CBE’s office recently. As they worked, they reminisced about their youth—a time when hearing from a female evangelist was not that uncommon! In fact, our eighty-year old friends remembered having heard the female evangelist team Stockton and Gould preach and sing at some of the most prominent evangelical churches in the greater Chicago area! The rest of us were amazed as they named the churches and places this team had preached and sung. The truth is, most churches active in the revivals of the 1800s and 1900s gave female evangelists a platform. As teams like Stockton and Gould drew hearts to our Lord, the results were clear. Ministry worked best when it was gift-b... Read more
I recommend to you the work of John Polkinghorne, the noted Christian apologist and Cambridge physicist. Working in the area of particle physics, Polkinghorne notes that the physical world does not always behave the way scholars and scientists expect. Because the world is so strange and mysterious, a critical analysis of any field will always require a healthy skepticism of the assumptions made by any scholarly tradition. Polkinghorne calls this "bottom up thinking"—an inductive approach to research. Bottom up thinking greatly helps us in our work as egalitarians, too. Why? Bottom up thinking encourages us to really look at data (biblical or historical) in assessing the statements made by the experts in any field. For example, scholars and church leaders have,... Read more
How many of us are in churches where we have been told that the time isn't right to consider the gender issue? Timing is everything, right? How many of us wonder when is the right time to model the example of women like Priscilla, who explained the way of the Lord to Apollos (Acts 18:6)? When is the right time to consider the examples of house church leaders like Lydia (Acts 16:14), Chloe (1 Corinthians 1:11), the Elect Lady (2 John 1:1, 5), and Nympha (Colossians 4:15)? When should we notice Phoebe, who served the church in Cenchrea (Romans 16:1), or Junia the female apostle (Romans 16:7)? What about the women who prophesied at Pentecost (Acts 2), or the women prophets in the church at Corinth (1 Corinthians 11:5), or Philip's prophesying daughters (Acts 21:9)? When is t... Read more
Thanks to Sue for pointing out this interesting bit of news to CBE. Towards the end of last week’s Republican presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, a debate that dealt largely with foreign policy and the war in Iraq, the debate turned sharply to the issue of marital submission, and by extension, biblical equality. Here is an excerpt from the debate’s transcript, found in its entirety here. Governor Huckabee, to change the subject a little bit and focus a moment on electability. Back in 1998, you were one of about 100 people who affirmed, in a full-page ad in the New York Times the Southern Baptist Convention’s declaration that, quote, 'A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.' Women voters in both part... Read more